How to Emerge From COVID-19 as a Top Grocer

It’s no secret that the grocery industry experienced different challenges than most other industries during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. While the industry saw record-breaking sales, it also gained new insights to retailer preference as shoppers changed their usual shopping habits.

According to New York research consultancy Magid, shoppers had the most positive experiences at Sam’s Club, Meijer, and Costco for their clean-store and safety initiatives. They also noted that shoppers were likely to continue shopping at “replacement retailers,” with Albertsons (89%), Sam’s Club (82%), and Trader Joe’s (79%) as the stores they were most likely to continue going to after coronavirus concerns have calmed down.

Magid also noted that 78% of consumers who tried new brands during the coronavirus pandemic are continuing to buy them even as their once-preferred products become available. 67% of shoppers surveyed by Magid said their experience with new items is better or the same as their previous favorite products and brands, with coffee (85%), eggs (84%), and dry goods (82%) leading the pack of categories most susceptible to permanent brand switching.

In its two-page study, Magid noted that consumers continued to shop at new retailers, but a lack of products and supplies wasn’t as strong a driver as before. Now, customers care more about the in-store experience offered. According to the study, 28% of shoppers are shopping at new retailers since the coronavirus outbreak, 15% noting that their preferred retailer is not taking necessary precautions to keep shoppers safe.

When asked when they thought life would get back to normal, 14% of consumers said they expected the turn to “normalcy” to take more than a year, a 10% increase from the first version of the study. More concerning to retailers, one in five shoppers said that they trust their grocer to take the necessary steps to ensure their health and safety – an insight grocers need to place more importance on.

While sales may indicate quarterly highs, grocers need to focus their attention to customer’s immediate needs. Ensuring a clean, safe story is of utmost importance for shoppers and their families. Experts have said that there may be another wave of coronavirus in the fall – and while states are loosening their restrictions and lifting the stay-at-home orders, grocers need to stay on top of their game if they want to gain and maintain customers trust.